Nul Points


“Hey Mister Eurovision Song Contest Man … would you like to hear my song?”

Er, no, actually. The UK’s entry to this year’s European warble-fest is simply hideous. I’ll give them “woah woah woah”. (more like “woe woe woe” – bad pun, sorry). Doesn’t anyone know how to write lyrics these days? Do people actually sit down with pen and paper and think, “ooh, I know, woah, oh woah, oh woah …”. Reaches for rhyming dictionary to find rhyme for ‘together’ ‘ forever’ (possibly ‘friend’, ‘end’, ‘rain’, ‘train’ and ‘brain’). “Oh” people will protest, “this is irrelevant because the UK produces quality acts like Clodplay, Adele and James Bay.”

At which point, I sigh and go back to bed, hugging my copy of “Weightlifting’ by the Trashcan Sinatras, contemplating the career of James Bay, whose entire act seems to consist of him wearing a hat.

Relatively simple I guess, wearing a hat. The Hedge from Bono and the U2 has elongated his own career by many a year, initially adopting a reject from one of Ken Dodd’s Diddy Men (ask your parents, kids) and finally settling upon the knitted beany, even when attending a black-tie event.

The Monkees’ Mike (W.H. Woolhat) Nesmith wore a green, Benny-from-Crossroads, bobble hat at his audition for the show, having purchased the said item to keep his hair from a-blowin’ in the wind when riding his motorcycle.

So back to Joe and Jake (has anyone done the trendy thing yet and put the first bits of their joint names together and come up with ‘Joke”? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Neither of them, from their vacant faces in the picture, look as if they know what the strange, metallic, silver thing is in front of them, but they’ve gainly opened their mouths for the photographer in the vague hope that they come across as convincing singers. And they’ve certainly got the moves – Joe, (or possibly Jake), knows a couple of chords on his acoustic guitar – the sound which is as fresh and original as the day in 1987 when the guitarist from Then Jericho first played it. Jake, (could be Joe, who knows), thrusts and squirms in the way young people do these days, looking like he needs the toilet rather badly.

I’m considering starting a campaign to get “Mister Eurovision Song Contest Man” – so wonderfully written and performed by former Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band member and one-time Rutle Neil Innes – installed as this year’s entry instead. But than again, has the day of the Facebook campaign been and gone? I myself was part of an effort, back in 2009, to rid the Christmas charts of the despicable Simon Cowell and his Karaoke drivel. Indeed, my own song was heading the campaign to be the ‘official’ competition, until something very odd occurred with the Rage Against The Machine entry.

“We’re not going to do what people tell us” said RATM. “That’s right,” said the guy leading the campaign. “Don’t do what people tell you. Don’t buy Simon Cowell’s record. Buy RATM’s record, which says, ‘don’t do what people tell you’.”

“Okay,” said all the people. “We won’t do what Simon Cowell tells us, we’ll do what RATM tell us, which is not to do what people tell us. That’ll really stick it to The Man!”

And so people bought both records, each trying to out-bid the other, buying even more to stop the other. Both of which were on the same record label … co-incidentally the one with whom a certain Mr S Cowell had such an interest.

Bing bang bong … inky pinky parlez-vouz, wunderbar, ooh la la …






“I Don’t Like Cricket … I Love It”

There isn’t much you can do when you’re lying in a hospital bed with a drip hammered into your arm in early December except think.

The first thing I was thinking was that despite thinking I followed a balanced diet, a salad followed by a bag of donuts wasn’t quite technically balanced. Nor was croissants for breakfast followed by sandwiches made from croissants – filled with cheese, butter and mayonaise – (I’d convinced / deluded myself that adding a sprig of lettuce on top would somehow compensate for all the saturated fats my body was absorbing.)

Naturally my work-mates were astounded by the news that my gall bladder couldn’t take anymore punishment, having been royally abused and as overworked as an 18th Century, railway building navvy, suffering more punishment than a music fan listening to a Coldplay single. The doctors told me my gall bladder was extremely wild and angry. If I may paraphrase ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’, I’d have been more than wild if I’d had to endure the penance and retribution my poor body had endured the last few years – I’d have been livid.

My colleagues adopted the “but you’re not fat” approach on being confronted with news of my impending surgery to have my bladder and offending gallstones removed. I welcomed the compliment but shrugged anyway.

The chap in the next bed to me was possibly the rudest man on the planet. At first, his curt, arrogant, ignorant demands were mildly amusing and the fella in the bay opposite and I exchanged knowing glances, raised our eyebrows and nodded sagely in the simultaneous agreement that he was the biggest dick we’d ever encountered. But over time we realised that this level of rudeness wasn’t remotely funny, especially when directed at people who were essentially angels, caring for us, protecting us and having nothing but our best interests at heart.

I found solace of a kind in a BBC4 documentary on the Manchester band 10cc that I was able to watch on my tablet. Four men who always seemed to be middle-aged (even though they were probably younger than I am now) with no particular fixed hairstyles (or musical style for that matter) seemed to have written an inordinate amount of hits for a band I could only remember for the cheerless and desolate “I’m Not In Love” and the droll,  (but frankly absurd), “Dreadlock Holiday”.

Staff at an NHS hospital are remarkable … they put up with an awful lot (bodily functions accepted, disrespect and boorishness tolerated, patience tested to the limit) and yet still they maintain a level of professionalism whomever the incumbent Health Secretary is seems to ignore or cannot comprehend. I was introduced by a no-nonsense nurse to Henry, a trainee doctor, who asked if I wouldn’t mind if he took some blood? Henry looked about twelve years old and was shaking like the proverbial leaf as he aimed a small, sharp needle in the direction of one of my angrily purple, protruding veins.

I forgave Henry as the needle dropped and bounced off the bed like an Olympic gymnast dismounting from the parallel bars. My nurse remained lily-pond calm, broke open a frash implement and efficiently inserted the end into my arm, by now as bruised and battered as the last apple left on the shelf. By now, as Tony Hancock famously exerted, I was convinced they’d taken nearly an armful. I was tired. So tired …